Fighting IS in Iraq left behind USD 90 bln in damage – official

Not until the dust has settled in northern Iraq’s Mosul after a three-year vicious war against the so-called Islamic State (IS), that people started to fathom the magnitude of destruction that ripped through their city, as well as the whole country.

The 1,200-day war technically ended in July 2017, with an estimate cost of USD 80-90 billion, according to Mahdi Al-Allaq, Secretary General of the Iraqi Cabinet.

He based the figures on field studies done by the ministry of planning, which also cited that some USD 47 billion worth of damage had hit the country’s infrastructure and economic facilities.

In statements to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Al-Allaq said his country is pinning high hopes on financial support from the anticipated International Conference For Reconstruction Of Iraq, to be hosted by Kuwait on February 12.

Iraq will display all these loses before the donors in detail, he noted, pointing out that Nineveh province was the most devastated on all levels.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi had officially announced the liberation of the city of Mosul on July 10, 2017. The Islamic State took control of the city in June 2014. During their three-year reign, many atrocities were committed. On December 9, 2017, Al-Abadi announced the liberation of all Iraqi soil once controlled by IS.

Al-Allaq pointed out that the Iraqi state is trying to limit the damage by engaging in a swift recovery plan through small projects to rehabilitate destroyed cities. These projects include de-mining, re-operating water and power generators and re-opening undamaged schools and hospitals.

This comes as opposed to what is anticipated from the Kuwait conference, where huge funds are needed to build major projects, he explained.

So far, Iraq had received USD 500-600 million in financial aid from all over the world, in addition to what has been allocated from the country’s budget, he noted.

These factors have contributed in cutting to almost half the number of displaced since the start of the war; down to 2.8 million, Al-Allaq said.

A report by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said the number of displaced Iraqis who returned home reached 2.8 million by the end of 2017, while 2.9 million are still in camps.

The report, published last December, also underlined that damage was most dire to the infrastructure and residential areas in northern Iraq, yet almost a third of the displaced have decided to return.

With demographic change and economic fluctuations looming, Kuwait’s International Conference For Reconstruction Of Iraq is seen by Baghdad as a gateway from its stifle.

Source: Kuwait News Agency